blogging, books, writing

The Past, Present, and Future of The Invisible Moth

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My blog is 3 years old this January! Did I remember? Not at all! WordPress sent me a congratulatory notification. At least once I saw it, memory clicked.

In January 2015, I started this blog with little more than a domain name and a lot of nerves. I knew very little about blogging, networking, social media, and really this whole world. After a few months, I started to get the hang of following others, blog-hopping (understanding that term), and not only building community (not “only”, though, it’s important!), but I was also beginning to get a feel for what I really wanted this space — my space — to encompass.

For most of 2015 and 2016, I’d been researching self-publishing options, trying to get a better handle on whether it would be for me, the possible pitfalls, and determine if I should pursue it, or go back to continuing attempts at submissions to literary agents.

Well, if you’ve been around here for any length of time, you know that I went with self-publishing, and it’s a good fit. I love being able to share my experiences and thoughts and writing process with you all through blogging and social media connections.

 

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I also get to use author platforms such as Goodreads and connect with my readers (and I have readers!) and obsessively stalk — ahem, I mean, have the chance to check in with reviewers, book stats for my titles, and find out what awesome stuff is going on with other indie authors.

To say that I feel blessed to be part of this community just doesn’t do the sentiment justice.

So, now that I’ve reached another milestone, what awaits for The Invisible Moth in 2018?

Well, other than I’ll certainly still be here with publishing updates, reviews, and probably the occasional giveaway, I have to admit that most likely I won’t be blogging as much this year.

Seems a bit odd after working so hard to reach my current status, huh? This has been a hard decision to make. While I’m definitely not quitting blogging, or even going on a hiatus, there are particular goals I want to focus on this year that will take more time than the universe is willing to give me. Since I, sadly, am not in possession of a Time Turner or a TARDIS, I need to choose how quickly I want to accomplish a, b, and c, and what I may have to set aside temporarily in order to do so.

 

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Hence, I really need to devote more of my waking hours to writing things that are not blog posts.

In the past, I’ve toyed with the notion of cutting back, then felt guilty, tried, failed, given up the concept, become slightly overwhelmed, and come back to it.

So, my new schedule for blogging will probably look like a new post once a week, and I’ll stick to reviews and WIP stuff for a bit. Once I get more of this stuff polished off (closer to summer), chances are I’ll feel like expanding back to in-depth discussions and maybe even trying new topics.

At the moment, though, there are THINGS that my brain needs to devote its energy to.

So that you have amazing stuff to read in the near future.

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Remember, I am still looking for ARC readers for How To Be A Savage — and a cover designer. I’m opening it up to a sort of contest format, like before, and if you’re interested in coming up with a cover for a novel about autistic superheroes/spies, drop me a line! (The contact information under my heading works for everything from inquires about book sales to submitting artwork to asking polite questions about Toby’s well-being.)

Here’s to 2018 being awesome!

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blogging, books, writing

Planning Ahead: Expanding the Platform, Attending Conferences, Confirming Publishing Goals

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Good morning! Hope you’re all staying warm!

Let’s get right to it — plenty to discuss this time.

One: The idea of me starting making video reviews.

Okay, the very thought of joining YouTube and struggling with all of their technical issues (and some of their not-very-nice viewers) makes me start to hyperventilate. White Fang has a YouTube channel, and some of his experiences have been wonderful, others not so much.

Plus, I do not extrovert — things like appearing in front of the camera. (The person who suggested I branch out in this method really needs to double check how well he thinks he know me.)

Anyway, there has been the recommendation that I could remain audio-only and do a few reviews with screen shots or something as background. Hmmm… I might experiment with that notion. I’d probably try out the first video on Twitter or Facebook, though, rather than just throw myself to the wolves of YouTube.

(Professional YouTubers have my undying respect. Seriously.)

Let me know what you think of all this!

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Two: I might try to go to a writers’ conference this year.

I went to one a couple years ago, and while I was only there for one day, and it was a small conference center, and I managed to survive the whole thing largely unscathed, it was still HARD.

Remember, the me no extrovert clause.

Also, I didn’t know anyone there, and I wasn’t yet a published author, and the market for speculative fiction (what I primarily write) just didn’t exist at this particular spot. Quite a shame on that bit…

Anyway, people are already flailing over Realm Makers 2018, and while attempting to attend this would be a WHOLE BIG THING for me (just imagine me running around my house screaming at the very possibility), it would be a lot of fun.

So, what do you reckon, moths? Should I look into this?

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Three: Firming up my publication ambitions for this year.

So, here’s what I would really like to do:

Publish How To Be A Savage before winter’s over.

Release Volume 3 sometime this spring.

Get the field guide out shortly after.

Make sure Volume 4 is ready to go before the end of 2018.

Here’s my back-up plan: Savage, Volume 3, field guide on tap prior to the calendar changing to 2019, Volume 4 coming to fruition early next year.

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Given that, after all of that, White Fang and I will start seriously attacking our collaboration standalone sequel (and of course he’ll be in school until June, which limits his availability for this project in the meantime), I think this is certainly enough to have on my plate at present.

Next question: Who here is interested in an ARC for How To Be A Savage?

Who here wants to design the cover?

Please form an orderly queue, over to your right.

I’ll be accepting comments on everything mentioned above until I get satisfactory answers. (Don’t worry, I don’t bite. Remember, I’m close-contact-phobic.)

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books, The Invisible Moth

The January Book Club!

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Hello, everyone! So, as we prepare for the next book club meeting (I meant to figure out something before now — heh, what’s this passage of time thing?!), I’ll get you all ready to buy more of my work  ahem, I mean, to indulge yourself in my wonderfully enchanting, delightful, humorous, and thought-provoking collection of short stories!

(Okay, yes, that means buy the book so that you can join in the club meeting on January 30th.)

(Hey, what? A girl’s gotta make sure her kids eat!)

Anyway, this is an anthology of short stories and flash fiction that I first shared on the blog several months ago, and now they’re all available together, with some additions. The additions are: I’ve included author’s notes, so you can see where my inspiration for each of these vastly different tales came from; and there is a lovely cover created by Alea Harper.

So, order now for the joy of joining in the discussion at the end of January! Make good use of those Christmas coupons and gift cards!

Ahem, I mean — ahh, heck, that is what I mean.

Happy holiday season, moths!

books, community, writing

The Invisible Moth Self-Publishes: The Hows and The Whys

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Hello all! So, I’ve had a request to create a post on why I use the publisher/distributor I do. (And really, it’s part of a much bigger, more involved discussion, that I’ve been wanting to go into at some point, anyway.)

Also, I promised myself recently that I’d use more Supernatural gifs in my postings. (You’re welcome.)

So, when I first started on this journey… It was December 2016, I’d just won NaNo, and I wanted to take that leap and self-publish. Hopefully get some sales. After I finished dying from nerves, I began investigating the possible routes for doing this.

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I looked into Amazon.com, and got CONFUSED. There was too much fine print, too much I didn’t understand about the software CreateSpace uses, too much regarding the process of editing and formatting that made my head become way too ouchy.

So, shedding a fair amount of tears, I began Googling alternatives. Turns out a lot of small companies (at least in America) that print your wedding invitations/vacation scrapbook pages/independent business cards are also getting into self-publishing. (Especially for people who aren’t sure about entering the sellers’ market, and may only want to print 50 copies of their passion project for family and friends.)

Anyway, I found a local printer that has connected with Amazon and offers you the chance to buy an ISBN, and will provide copies of your book to Amazon for sale on the website, if you wish. Or they’ll just print however many copies you want to pay for, and then you can do what you want with them.

Given the intimidating process (to me) of working with Amazon directly, this sounded freaking amazing.

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As of spring 2017, I was finished with the proofreading, and deemed my document ready to print. (There were a few minor things I really wanted to make 110% perfect, but honestly, it wasn’t worth getting all wigged out about.)

At the time, I didn’t have the money to obtain an ISBN. (It’s why the first edition of Masters and Beginners — with the Toby cover — doesn’t have one.) But this little local storefront was SO helpful in terms of formatting, being patient as I proofed, designing the cover, answering my many questions, and not getting ticked off that it took me a couple of months to feel satisfied. They were awesome for a first-time indie author on a steep learning curve, and I am immensely grateful for that.

Now, the only downside of choosing this method was that I had to pay upfront for printing. And then if I sold books to, say, readers of my blog who live far, far away from me, I had to pay for shipping myself.

While, of course, I LOVE my readers, and was happy to make sure they received their orders, it made my initial earnings quickly dwindle.

So, as I was drafting Volume 2, and losing my mind a bit over the idea of further expenses, I wanted to find a more affordable way.

But I did NOT want to go through Amazon.

As I’ve come to meet other indie authors and hopefuls, I’ve been part of a lot of talk about the pros and cons of doing this yourself. One of the major cons seems to be (interestingly) Amazon.com. The consensus is apparently: When Amazon works well, it’s great. But if it messes up, wow, is it a mess.

Every time I Googled “self-publishing,” Amazon immediately came up. Gah.

Then, one day, when I was placing a pre-order for White Fang on Barnes & Noble, I saw an advertisement for Nook Press print services.

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I thought Nook Press was only e-books. Personally, I don’t have anything against e-books, but I prefer to have the hardcopy option (as I am a traditionalist in this regard, and nothing beats a physical novel in your hand, turning the pages, sniffing the ink….).

I digress. At some point, Nook expanded and now includes hardcopy as well as digital.

*happy dance moment*

Barnes & Noble has a reputation for good customer service, encouraging indie authors, and will provide you with an ISBN free of additional charge.

My experience with Nook Press has been thus:

Their formatting software is very straightforward, with plenty of tutorials and tips. If you get stuck on something, contact the support department, and they’ll get back to you within 48 hours.

They charge a commission upfront for printing and shipping, so your royalties are based on what’s left after that. You get to decide how much to sell your book for. After submitting your final proofs and cover, your finished product should be ready to go within 4 days.

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In the interest of keeping costs down, I choose paperback, but through Nook Press you can have your title created in hard cover if you so desire.

Your publication will have its own spot on the Barnes & Noble website, and online customers can purchase it just like anything else the store offers. (You don’t need an account to order; guest checkout works well, too.)

Your friends and readers can post reviews on B&N.com, singing the praises of your work. (I believe there is a word limit, so just keep that in mind.)

Compare this to the most recent grouch I saw about Amazon — that if you’re friends with an indie author on Amazon, they may take down your review “because it is more likely to be biased.”

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Yes, this came from an actual Tweet I saw yesterday. The Tweeter in question prompted me to make this post.

This is one of many reasons I decided not to use Amazon.

I am very happy with the choice I made to self-publish through Barnes & Noble.

I greatly support brick-and-mortar bookstores in an era when so much is digital or available with the click of a mouse. Although my titles are only obtained through a website purchase, I totally love that Barnes & Noble has real, tangible buildings that writers and readers can walk into, pick up a paperback or hard cover, turn the pages and sniff the ink.

I encourage others who are considering getting into indie publishing to select Nook Press.

(If you do use Amazon and are content with that, rock on.)

These are just my (requested) reflections.

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blogging, books

The Writer’s Book Tag (Not To Be Confused With The Last Tag I Did)

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Yes, I am on a tag spree! Well, such nice people keep tagging me, and every now and then, I need to write a little bit of something that does not count towards NaNo, so, here we go.

The last post I did was The Writer’s Tag — this is The Writer’s Book Tag, meaning it’s about books that writers read.

First Draft: A book or series that you’ve never read before.

I have never read anything by Brandon Sanderson (though he seems to be big in the fantasy lovers’ camp), and I never picked up the Percy Jackson series — any of them.

Second Draft: A book or series you didn’t like as much the second time you read it.

I’d have to say Charlotte’s Web and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. And I know these are both classics and very important to a lot of readers, and please don’t hurt me! Maybe there’s something about approaching some children’s tales with the innocence of a child’s perspective. While I loved Wilbur and Charlotte’s story as a youth, somehow re-reading it as an adult made me feel like, “Oh, please, spare me the bleeding heart!” (And I’m not a dyed-in-the-wool right-winger by any means.) And while I completely understand that the demise and return of Aslan is totally a metaphor for the events of the first Easter, re-reading this novel again in my adulthood absolutely broke my heart for Susan and Lucy — so young — having to witness all of that. I think if Lewis had made their characters a little older (say, 18 and 16), I wouldn’t have found it so traumatic.

Final Draft: A book or series that you’ve liked for a really long time.

Harry Potter. It’s one of the few recent series that I feel easily has the potential to become a classic, that I’ve re-read all the books and not found their impact to be diminished, and I can’t wait to share them with my own kids.

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Killing Off Your Characters: A book or series that made you cry.

Do I get to mention Harry Potter again so soon? So. Much. Crying.

Plot Holes: A book or series that disappointed you.

The sequels to Jackaby are at the top of this list. I really enjoyed the first, the second was pretty good, but seemed to have nothing to do with the whole arc, and the third totally killed my interest. A real shame.

Writer’s Block: A book or series you never finished.

Wow, there are plenty of these! I’m probably the queen of DNF (and usually have no qualms about it!). One that really digs at me is Jackaby, though — see above — I’ve decided not to even read the fourth and final novel.

Feedback: A book or series you’d recommend to anyone and everyone.

For fantasy, I’d say The Scorpio Races. For non-fantasy, To Kill a Mockingbird, A Tale of Two Cities, The Scarlet Pimpernel, and if you need a contemporary, Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella or Girl Online by Zoe Suggs.

Per tradition, I won’t be tagging anybody else, but if you need a blog post and fancy this one, have a great time!

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books, The Invisible Moth

Dreamings and Muses Now On Sale!

Dreamings and Muses

Well, it took a little while (don’t we all love formatting issues?!), but my complete short story collection is now available!

If you click on the link below, you’ll find the information towards obtaining your own copy!

Massive thanks to Alea Harper for the wonderful cover (and putting up with all the re-formatting we had to do)!

This is a nice little collection of 4 stories that I penned a while back, and now have compiled for print. I also included author’s notes on my influences and writing process.

The contents are “Just Pretend,” “Me and You,” “Primitive,” and “Tad Fallows and the Quarter Pints.” The first and second are basically romance, with elements of speculative fiction; the third is my only attempt at sci-fi; and for those of you who think the title of the fourth sounds familiar, yes, you’re right. This short story actually sparked one of the clever little plot points in Masters and Beginners.

The sale price is $6.55 (USD), plus shipping in most cases. (Remember, Barnes and Noble has free shipping options sometimes!)

(Okay, awkward self-promotion moving onwards… Still hoping it encourages some of you to place an order — your support is always the best, moths!)

I’m afraid I can’t offer any free review copies this time. I do plan to add this anthology (cool word, huh?) to Goodreads, and if anyone wishes to post a review in the future, that would be lovely!

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dreamings-and-muses-daley-downing/1127168779?ean=9781538036631

blogging, books, tags

The Totally Should’ve Tag

Hello, all! What, another tag, you may say? Well, yes, it is — I’ve been tagged by the lovely The Orangutan Librarian — and, truth be told, I am pouring all my creative energy into Volume 2 and 3, so here’s to having no ideas left over for blog posts!

Totally Should’ve…Gotten a Sequel:

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I’m so going with The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater here. It’s interesting, because on the one hand, I appreciate a YA author actually determining to write a standalone and stick to it. However, since I also honestly feel that The Raven Cycle could have been condensed into a duology (no one hurt me!), and that The Wolves of Mercy Falls seriously could’ve been a standalone (just Shiver), it shows that while I like this author, I don’t always agree with her choices. Whereas in her other series I thought she got too long-winded, in The Scorpio Races there was SUCH a rich and vivid worldbuilding that I wanted to know more about. I think a sequel, say, in 10 years or something, maybe with an adult Kate/Puck or with her kids, would be great. It could explore things like, do the Races continue indefinitely or will they eventually get shut down? Did Kate and Sean stay together? Did anybody who intended to leave the island ever come back? All the good stuff.

Totally Should’ve…Had a Spinoff Series:

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Definitely Harry Potter! I would happily read anything about Hogwarts, more about secondary characters like the Weasleys, the history of Voldemort’s war on other wizards and the start of the Deatheaters, what happened to people like Neville and Luna after school… (Sorry, Ms. Rowling. I do actually respect her decision to write about other subjects. I know that if I felt ready to wrap up a series, I wouldn’t want folks bugging me for more.)

Totally Should’ve…Ended Differently:

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All right, John Green fans, don’t throw stuff at me. These are the only two novels of his I’ve read, and I think it’ll stay that way, because I take issue with how he chose to end them. This author apparently has a real talent for twisting the last 50 pages, so that what I anticipate will happen so does not, and not in a good way (in my view).

I know this will be a bit controversial, but I seriously thought it would be Hazel who died in The Fault in Our Stars, and in Paper Towns I really wanted Quentin to tell Margot to go bleep herself after he went through all this stuff to find her and she was just like, “Oh, hey, what the heck are you doing here, go away.” I’m very aware that most people who read John Green think he can do no wrong; but this is just my opinion, so, there you go.

Totally Should’ve…Had a TV Show:

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Given alllll the information about the Faction System that’s only hinted at in this trilogy — especially the massive twist on its origins — I think a TV series could’ve done better justice to explaining all the complexities of this than squeezing an action-based plot into 2-hour movies.

Totally Should’ve…Had a Film Franchise:

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White Fang and I are of one mind on this — a set of Warriors movies would be awesome.

Totally Should’ve…Had One Point of View:

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This is a novel I really struggled with, anyway; the multiple POV did not make it any easier. I don’t think Auggie’s POV should even have been focused on; I would’ve liked to read the whole thing from, say, his sister’s perspective, or one of his classmates.

Totally Should’ve…Had a Cover Change:

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Yes, I know I am The Invisible Moth. But the little flitty things on the U.S. cover for Strange the Dreamer just made my skin crawl. Why can’t we have the more elegant and mechanical drawing-ish UK version here, too? That I wouldn’t have felt the need to hide every time I tried to read more of this title.

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Totally Should’ve…Stopped Reading:

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Yup, this is me, bashing the Shadowhunters series. I simply felt it’s gone on too long. I finished City of Glass and loved the resolution — Jocelyn was awake, she and Luke were finally getting together, Clary and Jace were free to be a couple, Valentine was dead, Simon would’ve been a great nerdy vampire and Izzy was fantastic with him, Alec and Magnus were established — BOOM, perfect, wrap it up. The 4th, 5th and 6th books weren’t necessary at all, in my view, nor the spinoffs. Sorry, fans.

Totally Should’ve…Kept the Cover:

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Okay, this is an old book, that I don’t know if it’s even still in print in the USA *sobs*, but this is the original cover on the copy I first read from a library *cough, cough* a long time ago. I like the almost art deco look to it, because it perfectly fits the 1950s setting of the story. But when I tried to order a paperback from Amazon a few years back, this is what arrived:

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In my opinion, too cheesy, too modern, too trying to make it a YA Mills and Boone (which this story is not). Big sigh.

Totally Shouldn’t…Have Pre-judged:

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After getting about 75 pages into this and returning it to the library (twice!), finally I finished it, and was super glad I did. The first few chapters of this novel are kind of plodding, and a bit depressing, and I really wasn’t hooked. But when I embarked on the re-read-to-the-completion, the style got me going enough to continue (personally, I love Holly Black’s style, even if most of her subject matter isn’t to my taste), and in fact that the dark and dreary setting serves well to set up all the twist-to-positive-character-growth by the end. I’m really glad that I went back to The Darkest Part of the Forest in spite of my earlier misgivings.

And there we have it! As usual, I won’t be tagging anybody specific, but if you’d like to tackle this, go for it!